CBD has been popping up everywhere lately. You can't walk into your corner store without seeing CBD gummies, CBD oil, or CBD water, each of which proudly claims that its CBD product is the one that's going to change your life.
But what exactly is this mysterious compound, and what does it do? Stress no more: we designed this handy guide to turn you from a cannabinoid novice into a lean, green CBD machine. Read on to learn more about one of the hottest new wellness trends and whether it might be right for you.
What Is CBD?
Every cannabis, or marijuana, plant contains over one hundred chemical compounds. One of those compounds is cannabidiol, which is commonly known as - you guessed it - CBD. Cannabidiol is the second-most common chemical compound in cannabis behind tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. However, THC is psychoactive, meaning it affects the mind, whereas CBD is not, which means that it doesn't cause its users to experience a "high." Instead, due to how it interacts with different receptors in your body, CBD can have a wide variety of other effects.
Will CBD Get You High?
No! Although you may feel peaceful, calm, or relaxed when taking CBD, it's not psychoactive. In fact, CBD blocks the same receptors that THC activates to leave you feeling "high," which means that CBD actively works against making you feel impaired. If you do feel any reactions to CBD, it's likely because your product also contains a small amount of THC.
Where Does CBD Come From?
Most CBD is extracted from hemp, a variety of the Cannabis Sativa plant. Hemp is a wildly effective super-plant that has numerous benefits when ingested in the form of either hemp extract or hemp seed oil. While hemp extracts wait for conclusive research, hemp seed oil has been shown to reduce inflammation and diabetes and support the immune system, brain, and heart.
Although hemp is similar to the cannabis plant in that it contains both THC and CBD, it is different in that it includes much more CBD than THC. Therefore, much of the CBD currently available on the market has been extracted from CBD-rich hemp. And while fun treats like CBD water and CBD gummies may be relatively new creations, humans have been using cannabis and hemp for thousands of years: cannabis was first used medicinally around 400 AD, with CBD first being discovered and isolated around 1940.
What Does CBD Do?
The exact mechanism by which CBD affects your body is unclear. Some scientists believe that the molecules in CBD bind to specific receptors in your body in a different way than THC does, and it's been proposed that CBD may even bind to receptors that haven't yet been discovered. Although scientists may not understand why CBD has the effects that it does, CBD has demonstrated a wide variety of favorable results in several studies:
- CBD may be incredibly useful in reducing or even stopping seizures in children with treatment-resistant childhood epilepsy. GW Pharmaceuticals recently received FDA approval for this use of CBD specifically.
- Studies show that CBD might reduce stress and anxiety, and it can also assist patients with post-traumatic stress disorder.
- Scientists believe CBD may help with neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, and multiple sclerosis.
- In some cases, CBD has shown the potential to reduce inflammation and manage pain due to a wide range of illnesses, including cancer, arthritis, and chronic pain.
- Studies have also shown that CBD might do many things, including reducing nausea, fighting acne, eczema, and psoriasis, reducing insomnia, and stimulating appetite.
While all of the research is certainly promising, it is important to note that the FDA has not approved CBD as a dietary supplement or for the treatment of any illnesses. In fact, much more research is necessary, but with all of these possibilities, it's no wonder that CBD, and other cannabis compounds are being studied all over the world.
What Are the Side Effects of CBD?
With such great features, CBD must have some pretty intense side effects, right? You may be surprised to learn that CBD's side effects are relatively minimal. Common side effects associated with CBD, depending on the medium in which it's administered, include fatigue, drowsiness, dry mouth, decreased appetite, and diarrhea. Additionally, CBD can also thin your blood and increase the proportions of other medications in your bloodstream in precisely the same way that grapefruit juice does. Although the side effects associated with CBD are generally considered to be relatively minor, if you're looking to add CBD to your wellness routine, consult your doctor to discuss its possible side effects and how it might interact with any other medication you're taking.
It is also worth noting that CBD dosing should be kept low and titrated slowly. Some research suggests that excessive over-consumption of CBD may cause problems in the liver. As with all supplemental products, speak with a medical professional before adding CBD to your daily regimen.
Is CBD Legal?
That depends: are you ready to dive down a legal rabbit hole? The short answer is that yes, CBD is legal. The long answer is that while CBD is legal in all fifty states, it's restricted to varying degrees. Much of the confusion around the government's treatment of CBD concerns whether a given CBD product was derived from cannabis or hemp. However, as mentioned earlier, the FDA has only approved one CBD-based drug (for the treatment of childhood epilepsy) made by GW Pharmaceuticals. This agaency approval makes it easier for researchers to conduct clinical trials on CBD, and we'll likely be seeing more clarification on the safety and legality of CBD within the near future.
What Products Contain CBD?
The market is currently full of a wide variety of CBD products. From sublingual (under the tongue) products to topicals (i.e., creams, balms, and patches), and from vaping to smoking, there's something out there for everywhere. One area that's exhibited enormous growth in recent years is edibles: gummies, CBD water, truffles, mints, and even honey are all CBD-rich treats that taste great and pack a relaxing punch.
Now that you're a CBD expert feel free to go forth and explore the world of CBD safely and responsibly. Although much is still unknown about CBD, its enormous popularity means that you can test a few different approaches to find the CBD consumption method that most appeals to you. Be safe, have fun, and enjoy yourself!
About the Author
As a journalist and freelance writer in the cannabis and hemp industries, Kristina Etter advocates responsible consumption, as well as ethical and compliant communication and education for consumers.
The author of this article was hired as freelance writer by Good Hemp, Inc. and was compensated financially for this article.
Although there is a wide range of available research, the statements made regarding CBD, hemp, and cannabis products have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. The efficacy of such products has not been confirmed by FDA-approved research. These products are NOT intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease. All information presented here is merely informational and not meant as a substitute for or alternative to information from health care practitioners. Please consult your health care professional about potential interactions or other possible complications before using any product. The Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act requires this notice.
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